Ever watch a movie and continue to ask yourself “Why am I watching this?” but never once make a move towards the remote? That’s the question that bounced around in my head while viewing the Splatter Rampage release of the Speed Freak Production (whew!) of “Midnight Skater”. The acting is fair at best, the make-up and effects are terrible. But damned if this movie isn’t infectiously watchable.
A group of concerned students are outraged that a graffiti artist known as the “Midnight Skater” is defacing their campus (this having been shot at an actual campus, we see no evidence of said defacing – but no matter) and decide to go Scooby-Doo on him and try and catch him in the act. Meanwhile, a pair of drug dealers get their hands on a fantastic drug called “Z”. Sadly, said “Z” turns people into zombies. And if that weren’t enough, there’s a weirdly-likable serial killer on the loose, adding to the murder, mayhem, and red stuff a-flowing.
As I sat in awe of what unfolded, I couldn’t help feeling affection towards the movie—not so much any single element, just the film as a whole. The filmmakers—notably the Brothers Campbell and their writing partner Stacy Silvers—obviously worked off their a***s, as well the a***s of everyone involved, to get this movie made. The videography, though grainy, is very well-composed and thought-out. A lot of time and a gargantuan amount of effort went into this production, and if that weren’t enough, they actually executed a coherent story that is resolved at the end. They juggled zombies and serial killers quite nicely and there are enough jokes to keep a smile on your face throughout the proceedings, even if you’re not quite laughing out loud.
Another nice thing is that while the bulk of the main characters are true-to-form sarcastic slackers, they seem to care about each other to varying degrees. They’re not just random stereotypes lumped together and forced to interact. You actually get the feeling that this group of friends and acquaintances actually co-exist in this nightmarish campus. It’s a small touch that few filmmakers think about when starting out—usually they’re more concerned with making the characters funny and angry and hip, spewing profanity where there should be dialogue. This type of conscious effort is visible throughout the film.
If you’re looking for a fun get-together drinking movie, where you can laugh at bad zombie make-up and ample bloody gore, then pick up “Midnight Skater” as fast as you can. And for fans of serious indie horror, watch it with the laid-back attitude that this is an early work in the canon of what will hopefully be a seriously-cool body of work in the years to come.